From My Seat: Norwich (A)

From a first half of dominance, coming off I felt as though we were lucky to get a point. It was a crazy game but one the manager and players need to work on and eliminate the crazy.

Ken Buckley 12/12/2015 49comments  |  Jump to last
Norwich City 1-1 Everton

The day started in miserable fashion weather-wise and finished in miserable fashion footballwise but in between was a rare spectacle of a football match that saw one team dominate the first half with football of the highest quality and then the same team produce a fearful, nerve-ridden performance that almost saw them end in defeat rather than a draw. The only difference between the two halves was that Norwich played faster closing down stuff that hadnt been there before and we seemed unable to adequately cope with it. The one thing we were consistent with the whole match was the inability to take well-worked scoring opportunities of the How the hell did he miss that? kind.

We had to wait ten minutes for the match to get going as only a half-hearted effort by Deulofeu was witnessed and then Norwich broke and hit a shot high and wide. We went up the other end and, after good work by Kone in playing Lukaku in, the big Belgian fired wide. With almost 15 minutes on the clock we gained a corner on our right and ,as Baines trotted over to take it, he was roundly applauded and he reciprocated. He took the corner which Norwich could not get clear and the ball looked to take deflections and be heading out of play for a goal kick but Stones did not give it up and rescued the ball.

He passed to Baines but the pass was not quite good enough. Still, the ball ran to another Everton player who fed Deulofeu to put in one of his hard and low crosses which reached the far post and the lurking Lukaku made no mistake and we are one up. Players and those travelling had a tidy celebration (no pitch invasion) and we looked set to ease away from the hosts as we took control of the half.

Such was our dominance more goals were a given... or they should have been. Within minutes Deulofeu was off like a robbers dog and into the area. Lukaku was clear to his left but the Spaniard ignored him and took another touch that was too hard and the ball ran ahead of him and out for a goal kick suggesting he still has a bit to learn. It was all Everton and next Lukaku brought one down neatly, turned and fed Kone in one on one but the keeper was out fast and blocked his effort. Good keeping but really we expected more of Kone as he had time to see the keeper coming. Still, never mind as our dominance was marked, we were so much on top that we should have gone home with a cricket score. Oh, how that thought was to come back and bite us.

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We were attacking at will now and on the half hour a great move of joined-up stuff culminated in Cleverley being found wide right and he put in a superb cross to find Lukaku at the far post for a routine tap in. To the disbelief of all those assembled he missed! Hell, if he let the ball hit him it would have counted such was the accuracy of the cross. Just minutes later Lukaku failed to control a pass into him, he was in the box in a good position but that miss-control was disappointing. I said to my mate He is having a mini form lapse

We continued attacking and a powerful right-foot shot from Baines hit the bar and we still only one up when it could and should have been at least six. Kone had another one on one that the keeper once again won and then the same player shot wide just moments later when better could have been expected. We gained a corner that Stones was first to but got nothing on it and his momentum took on to the track behind the goal. He didnt get up as the game went on but eventually after treatment he resumed looking none the worse for wear. We could do with him not getting injured. At the death of the half we had a quick break on the counter and Barkley finds Kone who neatly feeds in Lukaku who beat two men but alas his shot was off target.

H/T and 1-0 up but most could not comprehend such a paltry return from a half we had dominated. It could have been 10!

We started the second half and the weather was still bad but not half as bad as our second half would be. From the off Norwich had upped the effort and, much like Bournemouth, played with a nothing-to-lose attitude which immediately had us on the back foot and looking nowhere near as assured as we had been. We seemed to be caught by surprise. Surely the manager and players did not expect Norwich to have had a roasting and sent out to do or die after their abysmal first half. We never seem to learn and this was rammed home just two minutes after the kick off. Would you believe another corner, another free header, another scramble on the line ending with the ball being forced home from six inches or so it seemed. What a downer.

From that moment on it was demoralising to watch an end to end open game contest that was there for either side to snatch. When you dwelt on those first half chances a clammy cold feeling of foreboding was never far from us. It was really hard to realize we were watching the same two teams from the first half and in the same match. Only Everton, eh.

It was scrappy now and the famed travelling Goodison choral society were now quiet... or maybe they were singing Silent Night, but just as something remotely exciting broke out it was either a misplaced pass or poor control that stifled that. The faithful were suggesting subs to our present manager and on 70 minutes he obliged by swapping Deulofeu for Mirallas and that didnt get universal approval. Mirallass subsequent display favoured the disagree vote.

The action was still end to end and we were given an almighty let off when Jerome missed a sitter just 6 yards from the centre of goal when he contrived to hit it high over the bar. Fine margins as they say. Both teams were now showing nerves as neither wanted to lose a game that was now on a knife-edge as safety first was the order with many passes hurried and going astray. There we were showing nerve ends when we should have been home and dry and seeing out time. It is frustrating being a fan at times.

15 minutes to go and Gibson replaced the misfiring Barkle.yNnow that was a sub I agreed with as Ross had not been himself today. Gibsons start with composure and spraying the ball about with some confidence reinforced my view of the substitution. We did gain two corners that came to nought but Gibson did pick up the ball and orchestrated a move that got us into their box but was cleared but only to Mori who from some thirty yards hit a powerful dipper that didnt dip enough.

With the clock ticking down quicker than ever I thought I am watching an Everton masterclass here in how to cock up a game as the board went up 3 to go. As soon as Gibson got the ball he hit one on goal in hope more than anything but that flew over and that was it until the whistle was heard.

MotM: It should have been Lukaku or Kone but over ninety minutes I give mine to Cleverley.

From that first half dominance coming off I felt as though we were lucky to get a point. It was a crazy game but one the manager and players need to work on and eliminate the crazy. At least we proved that goals win games because just taking half of the gilt edged chances created we would have won at a canter. Snatches of conversations seemed that many fans blamed the manager and just as many blamed Howard but for me if blame is to be apportioned it should be directed at those who miss gilt-edged chances.

On a positive note I thought that our first half standard of play bodes well for the future if we can only become a ninety minute team and not a first half team as we seem to be becoming. Perhaps if the managers half time talk convinces the players that the score is still nil-nil we might achieve ninety minute status.

Leicester next who are riding high and playing power football. Luckily no two games are the same so I will take my seat and see what we have learned from today that can help us from being a team on three straight draws to a team embarking on a long run of straight wins. Anything is possible


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Reader Comments (49)

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Mark Andersson
1 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:00:11
Ahh Ken I love your reports and optimism. Yes, we battered them in the first half; yes, the scoreline should have been more.

But this team, Martinez's team have no answer to teams that decide it’s do or die. We simply cave in and all composure of the first half goes out of the window.

I agree that Cleverley was the only player to have a good first and 2nd half. Marallis had zero impact for someone that a lot of people on here were crying out for him to play.

It’s going to be a cold miserable Xmas if Mr Happy brown shoes does not get his shit together. But he won’t, knowing that his job is safe. So expect more of the same, those of you who think that we are on the brink of special then let me remind you that Santa is not real, but don’t tell the kids that.

Tony Cheek
2 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:16:38
Seen it so many times now. A goal early in the game followed up by 3 or 4 100% chances to put the game to bed in which we fail so miserably in doing so.

It seems like it all hinges on the chance after the goal. Yesterday it fell to Kone, who, let's admit it, isn't going to win us many games. He is a good footballer with a nice touch but a deadly striker he will never be and seems too slow to make his mind up to ever be a real threat.

Mirallas must be a better option in my eyes. Yes, he is out of form and favour, but he is a better finisher than Kone.

Needs Sorting Fast!!

Matt Traynor
3 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:29:27
The lack of finishing is worrying. Go in 3 or 4 to the good at h/t and barring a miracle, the game is dead and buried. Instead Norwich go in at h/t having been on the end of a bombardment, but still only a goal down – they’ve got something to go at.

In the end, thanks to Jerome’s miss, we were "fortunate" to come away with a point.

This team has no killer instinct, that’s why they’ll never win anything.

The manager has to shoulder some responsibility, but the players also need to be held accountable.

John Jones
4 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:33:02
Great Report.

Cant believe I am writing this but Martinez has got playing brilliant football, However.....

We Need a new goalkeeper badly (I have always liked Howard) We need a keeper that is the Boss and horrid Bastard that shouts and bullies and will cause a train wreck coming for the ball. We really need it because Howard’s passive game doesn’t help our defenders.

We to practice defending crosses and set plays because this is the only way we are conceding.

Also we should get rid of Naismith and Kev because that money would afford us to bring in a genuine Goalscorer, as Kone’s legs seem to go after 60 minutes.

One word that sums us up FRUSTRATING!!

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:56:34

We definitely do need a top-class keeper; even if Howard was great, which he ain’t, the fact remains he’s 37 in March... He’s useless anyway, he’s a bottler who admittedly doesn’t like getting hurt. You only needed to hear his comments when Wayne Rooney got his head stitched.

Yes, we need a horrible nasty bastard, someone who isn’t pretty tippy-tappy, someone like Shawcross or Dann last summer would have been my preference. They are not class on the ball but they are hard men, they are leaders of men who are vocal.

You often question when we keep conceding the same type of goals on a weekly basis, where is our voice in the back five? Where is our leader, who is barking orders and finger pointing? Yes, Stones is gorgeous on the ground but he needs a man-mountain next to him; I’m not convinced Funes Mori is going to be this man, it’s early days but he does seem rather quiet, and he loses a lot of his aerial duels.

Jagielka is not the answer either as we have witnessed; again, he’s 34 next summer. Galloway and Browning are both rookies and, for the hardships of central defence, it’s a big ask to throw them in there yet.

Martinez failed to rectify the problem areas we suffered with last season – that’s the biggest criticism I can make of him. He knew last season we had a massive problem defending any crossed balls, set-pieces in the area, he knew we had a goalkeeper who is blatantly unwilling to come and even attempt to take the pressure of the defence but he has failed dismally at finding an answer to this dilemma.

Vinny Garstrokes
6 Posted 13/12/2015 at 11:09:05
For the final 15 minutes of the first half, Kone looked like he was on the training ground, almost ambling about the 18-yard area with no focus on where to send the final ball. It was an absolute breeze to tear through them but the final execution will be the difference in us being a top 4 team this season.

£5 million plus young Rudd and they can have Naismith!!

Vinny Garstrokes
7 Posted 13/12/2015 at 11:12:58
I just wish Ashley Williams was this side of 30 as he would be ideal for us at the back, and I have noticed that, in recent articles, and interviews, Roberto is always keen to praise him.
Ray Roche
8 Posted 13/12/2015 at 11:26:39
Vinny, didn't Williams stand and watch as City scored yesterday?
Jim Bennings
9 Posted 13/12/2015 at 11:46:10
Williams is okay... but, if you are looking for a genuine man-mountain, "no shit" beast then Shawcross or Dann are the men who I’d have really been looking for as they are both in the Dave Watson, Alan Stubbs, Richard Gough mould.

It’s highly unlikely now because they are both so important to their respective clubs but we damned well need to do something soon. It’s become a joke really now, you wouldn’t even see it so often on a Sunday league mud pitch, the same mistakes made, week-in & week out.

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 13/12/2015 at 11:49:50
Naturally with our last 3 results there is a lot of frustration, especially as most neutrals would say we should have won all 3 games. Again we concede a goal from a corner, I am not sure of the stats but we do seem to concede a lot of goals from corners. I am not sure whether it's our marking or if it is down to our goalkeeper not leaving his line, or is it a lack of somebody attacking the ball. We seem to lack somebody who just loves defending corners like Terry has done at Chelsea for many years.

Having said all of that, we are playing some terrific football, and if we keep playing the same way we will convert more of the chances we make. The bigger worry would be if we weren’t creating chances.

I don't think anyone will be sold in January, but I think the results between now and the end of the season could help determine what Lukaku, Stones and Deulofeu decide to do. Should we be able to keep all 3 for the start of next season, then I think we could be in for a good season. But I think we would have to get Europa League at least to have any chance of keeping these players.

Dave Williams
11 Posted 13/12/2015 at 11:53:21
As ever, a well reasoned report, Ken. You avoid the hysteria and make sensible comment. We are progressing nicely but Jim is absolutely right in what we need.

All the coaching in the world on how to deal with corners will not sort this problem – you don’t need to be coached how to do this. We need the right personnel who will naturally attack the ball rather than allow an opponent to get to it first and our current players are not that type, no matter how well they are coached.

A goalie has up to 24 inches more height with his arms stretched than an outfield player and, as Jim says ,he doesn’t need to catch it – just punch it and get it out of harm's way.

Joel is around 6 feet 5 inches which already gives him a huge advantage over most players and he should be given a proper run in the side; then sign a big hairy CB in January to partner Stones if he stays.

We need a Dave Watson or Mick Lyons type who will see any ball in the air as theirs and they didn’t need coaching to get like that – it was the way they were.

John Raftery
12 Posted 13/12/2015 at 12:34:30
Another very accurate summary of yesterday's proceedings, Ken. I also had Tom Cleverley as man of the match. As a team we are very good at doing the hard work in creating loads of chances but our conversion rate of even the simple chances is poor. Our problems defensively also involve relatively simple stuff, principally defending corners, which ought to be easily resolved with decent coaching and practice. As a matter of interest, I wonder which of our many coaches takes the lead in respect of defending set pieces. Whoever it is needs to get it sorted and sharpish.

All our league victories this season have come when we have scored three or more goals. We need to learn how to eke out the 1-0 or 2-1 wins when our main goal scorer is not firing on all cylinders.

Mike Gwyer
13 Posted 13/12/2015 at 12:36:56

There seems to be some sort of mental shit going down with some of our players. We are absolutely, totally & utterly shite when dealing with corners or free kicks into our area, so much so, that when we play a team that attacks us we are well and truly, totally, fucked.

City, United and the Arse all attacked and all three of them won, Spurs attacked us but were just unlucky as we spawned a point at there place. All the other teams have tried to contain us and have allowed us time with the ball, but with out fail, I mean as sure as Tuesday follows Monday, they will have an opportunity to put the ball into our area from a corner or free kick and hey fucking presto, we concede a goal. No tippy tappy shit, no keep the ball for 20 passes, just get a corner then several Everton players will go into deep mental torture and the opposition will score. Simples.

Martinez probably knows this. He must, because at Goodison, when any opposition team gets a corner or a dead ball kick that is going to end up in our defensive area, all I see are fellow blues with their fingers over their eyes, fellow blues looking at their feet, fuck me, they are probably praying.

For me, when the opposition get a corner, it's almost feels like they have been awarded a penalty.

Christy Ring
14 Posted 13/12/2015 at 13:18:32
Ken, love your weekly report, but have to disagree with you mentioning Kone as a candidate for MotM. Should have been off after 60mins.

I see Ruddy on the bench, a swap for Naisy??

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 13/12/2015 at 13:42:28
Christy (15) I think Ken was saying Kone could have been man of the match; if he had taken his chances.

Good honest report that slightly disguises your growing frustration with the two different Evertons on display the last few games.

I don’t think they will change under this manager and he is as culpable as the players... more so as he is the only one to change the way we fall asleep at different phases of the game.

Paul Joy
16 Posted 13/12/2015 at 13:49:30
Tim Howard has been a liability for 2 years. He is the worst keeper in the Premier League and most clubs have 2nd choices who are better. We have a 2nd choice who is better. Championship clubs have better. Some Sunday league teams have better keepers at dealing with crosses and corners. He could be defended at times as a good shot stopper but no longer. He is costing us goals, points and games. Only 1 man at Everton cannot see what is obvious.

Add to this the fact that we cannot defend corners. Defensively we are soft and will continue to be whilst our keeper twitches and trembles on his line or behind it at times. That said, it is time our defenders man-up and take some responsibility. They are soft too giving time and space for free headers or just weak challenges. Yes, even John Stones who just needs to man-up, full stop. He has more lie-downs than my grandkids used to.

Going forward, we are just so wasteful. Not just yesterday – though who else just knew that we would regret not taking the half-dozen gilt-edged chances in the 1st half. Decision-making/judgement has collectively been shocking but our manager continues to blow smoke up the team's arses, telling anyone who will listen how phenomenal and fuckin unique they all are.

In our last three games, we couldn’t beat the might of Bournemouth, Palace and Norwich... but hey, we scored goals for fun against Sunderland who had no defence even Kone got three and against the worst ever Villa side who had no team at all.

We flatter to deceive and mid-table is all we will achieve with Howard in goal and Martinez in charge. Talented squad of players with no direction or leadership.

Jim Bennings
19 Posted 13/12/2015 at 14:38:02
Regarding players needing to "man-up", I read a David Prentice article and it had extracts from an interview with Dave Watson, apparently in a clash of heads once between Watson and Manchester City’s Michel Vonk. Watson tried to get up but was dizzy and groggy possibly concussed so the club doctor at the time questioned what the fuck he was doing trying to play on...

Watson’s response was:

"I didn’t want him to see I was hurt."

Do we actually have that type of man at Everton these days?

Jay Harris
20 Posted 13/12/2015 at 14:45:25

For the first time, I sense a lot of frustration in your report. For me, we are far too reliant on Lukaku and keep looking to feed the ball to him. Kone, Deulofeu and Barkley are not consistent goalscorers and we seemed to have discouraged Coleman and Baines from scoring.

I understand leaving Naismith on the bench but can’t understand not giving Mirallas a game. The other thing that I can’t understand is why Lukaku is not in the box defending corners.

Ray Roche
21 Posted 13/12/2015 at 15:36:23
Jim (#20), I don’t think that sort of a player pulls a pair of boots on for any team theses days.
John Jones
22 Posted 13/12/2015 at 15:44:56
What I was meant to say was we need a player like Yarmolenko or of that ilk to play alongside Rom. I like Kone, the link up play is very good. But, as somebody else pointed out after 60 minutes, he is burnt.

Our kid reckons we should put in a cheeky bid for Rooney... Say what you want but it could be a good shout.

I agree with giving Robles a run the games this season; when he has played, he comes for the ball. Okay, he punches sometimes which I am not a fan of, but at least he is not glued to the line.

I am frustrated but not disappointed. I just hope Bobby has a plan in place for the end of the season as, because of age more than anything, there are at least 6-7 squad players that need replacing.

Jim Bennings
23 Posted 13/12/2015 at 16:06:52

I think there are still a few out there like that, granted not many but the likes of Shawcross, Dann, maybe a few other's like James Collins at West Ham seem like guy's that don't mind getting hurt.

John Hughes
24 Posted 13/12/2015 at 16:15:17
If Stones went, it would not be the end of world. I remember the same hysteria about Jack Rodwell when all and sundry we’re going to buy him; we are still here...

But we would have to get a Mick Lyons / Dave Watson – a tough uncompromising defender, a Kevin Ratcliffe type captain who would take no shit off anybody – your opponent or your own players.

There’s got to be somebody out there somewhere (hasn’t there)? I know, easier said than done. Here’s hoping. COYB.

Ray Roche
25 Posted 13/12/2015 at 16:19:06
Jim, yes, fair play I suppose they'd fall into that category.


Couldn't help but think of the bit from the film Deliverance..."Squeal, Piggy, Piggy"

Peter Cummings
26 Posted 13/12/2015 at 16:38:11
It seems that every Evertonian can see the wood from the trees except the manager and boardroom. I have said it for years that Howard has been a problem and while he does make some good, even great, stops; his main problem still remains namely his reluctance to ’mix it’ in his area.

Over the years, we have had fantastic defenders and goalies, too many to list, but today in both departments we are sadly lacking, now even when we take a two goal lead you can sense the unease spreading through the faithful as we allow the opposition to hit back with the almost certain outcome.

That this can’t go on goes without saying,something or someone has to come up with a solution Evertonians have waited far too long for the halcyon days of the ’’School Of Science’’ as we, yet again, stand to play second fiddle to ’them’ across the park.

Frank McGregor
27 Posted 13/12/2015 at 18:14:32
Based on today’s performance we will be lucky to get 2 points out of the next 4 games. We will probably go into the New Year with 25 point maximum.
Jim Bennings
28 Posted 13/12/2015 at 19:17:46
I'd have to agree Ray,

I love Gerry but he's got to toughen up as he gets older and grow a thicker skin, possibly the same as Ross Barkley and Stonesey to some extent.

At least the penny seems to have dropped with Lukaku now, a more mature player, tougher.

Ray Roche
29 Posted 13/12/2015 at 21:04:44
Yes, Jim. Lukaku has really matured this season, he must have realised that he needs to do it every week and not just when his odious little agent deems it necessary to put a shift in in order to get a big money move.

Oh, for the days of a Johnny Morrissey. Ask Jack Charlton.

Danny Broderick
30 Posted 14/12/2015 at 00:43:45
2 points from me:

Deulofeu has got to stop this rolling around. He makes himself a target for refs and the opposition fans, and he stopped playing after about 60 minutes yesterday. He just needs to keep his head down and concentrate on beating his man.

Secondly, we seem to only have plan A. Now that is fine if you are so good you will steamroller every team you come up against. But if not, you have to cut your cloth accordingly. Sometimes that means making yourself harder to beat, seeing out a game so that you protect a lead. Well we have just thrown away 6 points, so we are clearly not doing this side of things. Unless we get 2 goals up, we are just as likely to throw a game away as win it.

I’d like to see some old school values in the team sometimes. I love some of the play we have produced of late. But we need to be less naive if we are to make progress.

Jim Bennings
32 Posted 14/12/2015 at 09:48:19

I agree with your entire post there. Yes, Deulofeu, this season more so than his first, seems to be playing too much to the crowd, mainly letting opposing fans wind him up. But what he’s got to realise is he’s winding them up with some of his antics so he’s got to expect stick in return, he should be encouraged to concentrate on what he’s doing so well this season and that’s being our main creator.

Your second point, that we only have a Plan A is also true. At the very moment as an attacking force anyway it’s basically just been the Gerry and Rom show hasn’t it? It does worry me slightly if Deulofeu got injured at any point, would we go back to being rather blunt?

Yes there are some good performance levels put in by Kone and one or two others, still not convinced Barkley is taking the game by the scruff like we know he can, despite him adding more goals this season it still feels there’s something missing.

The key to our attack this season will clearly be Deulofeu and Lukaku, it’s become like Baines - Pienaar from the Moyes era.

Maybe we should enjoy it while it lasts, but yes, we should most definitely have a Plan B and even C.

Jim Bennings
33 Posted 14/12/2015 at 09:54:02
I thought the comments that Martinez made regarding the possible sales of Naismith and Mirallas were also a bit strange. It’s like saying he’s willing to sell them in January but surely, they will need replacing?

If they are sold and we get injuries to Deulofeu or Lukaku then immediately what looks like having experienced options on the bench becomes very limited weak options.

If sold, they must be replaced!

Barry Pearce
34 Posted 14/12/2015 at 11:02:29
It’s painfully obvious, we are no good at dealing with aerial balls.

Stones, as others have said, needs a bully centre-half next to him; Funes Mori doesn’t look to be that player.

Tim Wardrop
35 Posted 14/12/2015 at 12:06:44
Cleverley MotM? I thought he was average, at best.
Peter Roberts
36 Posted 14/12/2015 at 12:22:53
Ray Roache – totally agree about Lukaku. Never been a massive fan as I don’t think his heart is in it. He’s more bothered about himself than the team.

He has really proven what he can do this season but his "down time" is unacceptable. When he wants it he is frighteningly good. When he doesn’t it’s an insult to all the fans who pay good money. Why don’t people call him out for this? He gets away with murder.

If he had Kone's attitude, he would be incredible. We need a player on the pitch that kicks arse – a Souness, Keane character.

Tim Wardrop
37 Posted 14/12/2015 at 12:23:35
What is it suddenly with Roberto and substitutions? He only made one against Palace (straight swap, Baines for Galloway) when we were desperately trying to win the game. Then he only made two on Saturday. Naismith and Lennon haven't been used in either game. Why? Sometimes it just needs fresh legs and a player with something to prove, trying to get into the first team.

It's not good enough to leave players sitting on the bench who can offer something when the ones on the pitch aren't cutting the mustard.

Keith Monaghan
38 Posted 14/12/2015 at 14:26:15
To those who worry about Deulofeu leaving at the end of the season, RELAX – the only place he’s likely to go is Barca and as yet, although more effective than in his loan spell, he’s nowhere near good enough – he needs to work harder and play for 90,not 60, minutes.

Think a proper keeper would make a big difference to our defence – Robles must be given a chance.

Don’t understand how Mirallas can be judged to be off form when he doesn’t get a start – should get a run in the side ahead of Kone, Barkley or Deulofeu – the last 2 don’t do enough to help the team get the ball back – and Barkley needs to quicken up.

Ray Roche
39 Posted 14/12/2015 at 14:47:14
Keith, there is no way Deulofeu could or should be left out. He has been responsible for so many of our and Lukaku’s goals it would be sheer folly to consider leaving him on the bench. OK, after 60 minutes give him a rest but not to start him? Behave yourself.
Graham Mockford
40 Posted 14/12/2015 at 15:15:12
Peter Roberts (#36),

Still peddling your anti-Lukaku bile I see. You question his attitude and claim he is getting "away with murder". Let me remind you what you said about him as a footballer just over two months ago.

"His ability as a footballer is very poor. I don’t think I’ve seen a player with such a poor touch, he can’t jump, his runs lack intelligence for this level, and his right foot has absolutely no sense of direction – it’s his swinger."

Last month you claimed his improvement was down to Big Dunc, the legend centre forward who scored at the princely rate of 1 in 4, a player who could only dream of Lukaku’s goal scoring rate and who in my memory certainly struggled with attitude.

14 goals in 19 games and the first Everton player in forty years to score in seven consecutive games.

Maybe you are a better judge of attitude than footballing ability, but I wouldn’t be betting on it.

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 14/12/2015 at 15:21:18
Peter (36) keep writing in I like your style.
Brent Stephens
42 Posted 14/12/2015 at 15:22:26
Ray #29 agree with you about how well Lukaku has matured this season. What talent the lad has and what a goal record he's developing. Would be lost without him. And as you also say, his agent is a cock (I think you said that. If you didn't, you should have!).
Peter Roberts
43 Posted 14/12/2015 at 15:39:32
Thanks Dave, some on here reserve criticism for the boo boys. Lukaku is the player that we are oh so lucky to have.... wait there he isn’t....

I stand by the fact that he isn’t a good footballer, he’s a big athletic lad who can finish. His touch has improved but we will see games where it is not up to standard, his ability in the air has improved. And Graham... for what it’s worth, if we stuck a fit prime Duncan ferguson in this team you would see many goals.

Lukaku isn’t that talented that he can afford to coast, and we aren’t good enough to have a luxury player.

Ray Roche
44 Posted 14/12/2015 at 15:57:52
Brent, when we paid such a large amount for Lukaku, I was fairly critical due to his immaturity, poor first touch and lack of desire. These, along with his high opinion of himself, didn’t sit well with me.

Although, I said then that I was delighted to sign him: I just thought his fee was a bit exorbitant. I actually had a running argument with the excellent Jim Knightley who is possibly his biggest fan and made some good, positive arguments which have proved accurate.

To be fair, his touch WAS poor, and his aerial prowess sadly lacking for such a big man. But he must have done some serious work to develop into the player he is right now. I recall saying that I hoped he could become the player we want him to be. I think he is rapidly becoming that player. My only fear now is that he and his agent won’t allow us a year or so more to reap what we’ve sown.

Incidentally, I imagine if you put "odious little runt" into Google, you’d see his agents face....

Graham Mockford
45 Posted 14/12/2015 at 16:02:12

How can you possibly describe a player who has scored 51 goals in 101 games a 'luxury'? Regular goalscoring is now considered a luxury?

It seems to me that being a 'big athletic lad who can finish' are pretty good attributes for a centre forward.

There is a difference between form and ability. I'd be the first to say he was distinctly average at times last season, he certainly appeared short of confidence. However even in that poor season he managed 20 goals.

This season is showing he is one of the top forwards in the PL. And when it comes to attitude, I really don't see this 'laziness' that some refer to. Considering he has played more minutes than any other player this season ie every single game he doesn't appear to be shirking to me.

Peter Roberts
46 Posted 14/12/2015 at 16:13:43
We all all see differently. I will hold my hands up and admit whilst playing football at a reasonable amateur level, I see traits that I had myself in Rom's laziness. I had games where I couldn’t be arsed, I needed a rocket or a player to boot me.

I see that in him and it’s not something that will cure easily. I’m not comparing myself to a professional but I see the exact things I did when I would try and go through the motions and kid my team mates.

He could be a world class goalscorer, I just think he lacks the heart.

Graham Mockford
47 Posted 14/12/2015 at 16:31:18

We certainly do see things differently. As for you amateur footballing insights, I'm probably best just leaving it out there.

Brent Stephens
48 Posted 14/12/2015 at 16:32:40
I wasn’t sure, last season, whether Rom would be able to develop his abilities better in terms of ball control and passing. Part of me thought he’s still only young (and he still is); another part thought if you ain’t got those skills at early 20s are you really going to develop them. But, whoever is responsible for his developing those skills further, he certainly has developed.

I know stats aren’t the be all and end all but I’d love to know the stats in terms of the yards he’s run this season, because I get the impression he’s covering more ground. I certainly don’t see him as lazy. Any stats anybody?

Good job we didn’t sign a small, non-athletic guy who can’t finish. Unless he could score a goal every second game.

Peter Roberts
49 Posted 14/12/2015 at 16:42:41
Graham, I won't waste my time explaining how footballers can be similar beasts regardless of the level.

I play golf to scratch and I certainly share traits with golfers of higher handicaps. So less of the elitist nonsense.

It doesn't matter if you are playing on a local park or at Wembley, if you know the mechanics and psychology of the game it's all very similar after all its played by humans.

Bill Gall
50 Posted 14/12/2015 at 17:14:07
Great report, Ken. The only thing I disagree with, and it is just my opinion, is you say goals win you games. I believe, as the last two away games have shown, "Goals get you the points but it is the defense that can win the game."

What myself, and I believe you do as well, is, "Why does it take about the 70-min mark to start to make changes?"

Even after watching the game on TV, it is always good to read your reports that give an honest unbiased report of the game.

Laurie Hartley
51 Posted 16/12/2015 at 09:30:11
Ray (#29),

We have got a player who reminds me of Morrisey – Mo Besic. I don’t know what has happened to him but he is a tough lad. Galloway is fearless but Besic is fearless and scary.

Put those two together on the left hand side of our defence and there would be no prisoners taken. They can both play too.

Ray Roche
52 Posted 16/12/2015 at 16:22:13

A different sort of player, yes, but he also has the hard-as-nails appearance and attributes that we lack, in my opinion. Not so sure about his disciplinary mind-set, though.

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